According to the National Drought Monitor, drought conditions spread across the Corn Belt and Plains due to a lack of meaningful rains and warmer temps.
In the Midwest, the portion of topsoil moisture rated very short to short jumped at least 20 percentage points in Iowa (from 9 to 44%), Indiana (15 to 43%), Illinois (12 to 33%), Michigan (7 to 32%), and Wisconsin (6 to 30%). "As a result, there was a fairly large expansion of abnormally dry conditions (D0) across the central and eastern Corn Belt. Hot weather, short-term dryness, and crop demands were to blame for the rapid depletion of topsoil moisture," it notes.
In the Mid-South, rapidly deteriorating agricultural conditions resulted from another week of very warm, mostly dry weather, states the monitor. "USDA reported that the portion of topsoil moisture rated very short to short skyrocketed from 41 to 66% in Arkansas and 23 to 57% in Missouri. As a result, moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) expanded in an area centered on the northern Mississippi Delta and the lower Ohio Valley," it states.
Like the Mid-South and much of the Midwest, the Drought Monitor reflects a a continuation of warm, dry weather that led to rapid deterioration in crop and pasture conditions on the Plains. "However, shower activity began to increase across Montana, Nebraska, and the Dakotas late in the drought monitoring period, helping to slow the expansion of dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1). Farther south, warm, dry weather returned to the Oklahoma and Texas early in the period, following the previous week’s drought-easing rainfall. Still, the May 1-22 rainfall of 9.84 inches (364% of normal) marked San Antonio’s highest May total since 1993, when 12.47 inches fell," it states.